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May 11, 2021

Saadi training in Almaty for France qualifiers

 
May 11, 2021

KARACHI: Eying an Olympic seat in the World Qualifiers to be held in France next month, Pakistan’s premier karateka Saadi Abbas has reached Kazakhstan to undergo training at the Akbulak Olympic Centre in Almaty.

“I reached here the other day and am undergoing training in the joint international training camp,” Saadi told ‘The News’ from Almaty on Monday.

Saadi, who has failed to make it to the Olympics through standings, has the final opportunity when he features in the world qualifiers in Paris in the middle of next month. The three top fighters in each weight will make it to the Olympics. This is the first time that karate has been included in the Olympics.

“Teams from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Mexico, Chile, Kazakhstan, one girl from US and one boy from Romania are with us during training. With fighters from so many nations, it’s a great learning spot,” Saadi said.

“I wanted more training here as it is an amazing place to train but I have to go to Dubai back on May 17 to secure France visa for the world qualifiers,” said Saadi, a former Asian champion.

“Its accomodation cost is 100 dollars per night and the ticket costs Rs145,000. I have managed it through the money which I saved from the IOC scholarship and some from my own pocket. I hope Pakistan Karate Federation (PKF) will support me,” said Saadi, who recently faltered in the first round of the minus 75 kilogramme weight category fight in the Karate 1 Premier League in Lisbon, Portugal.

It was the last Olympic qualifying event as far as seats on overall standings were concerned. Before entering Lisbon’s event, Saadi had occupied 24th spot in Olympic rankings which means he has no chance on overall rankings.

If he failed in France too it would then be seen whether he would get a quota. His name for IOC Tripartite Places has also been registered by the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA), which managed the IOC scholarship for him through which he was able to feature in a number of Olympic qualifiers during the last two to three years.